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"Chaps" / "blokes" are friendly ways to address "male folks" in the UK. Do we have "corresponding" feminine forms?

"Shawties", "babes" aren't equivalent (being derogatory). I suppose at least when working with group of girls and ladies, the need frequently arises to address them in the work place.

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  • I assume you want something specific to British English?
    – alphabet
    Commented Mar 26, 2023 at 14:09
  • Yes I do .. at least for the masculine forms I quoted. Commented Mar 26, 2023 at 14:12
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    Many of those words are considered offensive by the women themselves.. Commented Mar 26, 2023 at 14:45
  • Looking over the answers in the duplicate, "guys" is highly recommended (but isn't gender neutral in all dialects), so your best bet is probably another gender neutral term like "folks".
    – Laurel
    Commented Mar 26, 2023 at 14:52
  • 1) I edited to differentiate with the existing question (this one is about UK English). 2) Slang terms have the concern of being derogatory so it may be difficult to be entirely clean. Answers should state (among other nuances) how derogatory the suggestion is. 3) Also there's a difference between2nd and 3rd person. One might refer to someone out of earshot with a particular word that is acceptable, but never use it to their face.
    – Mitch
    Commented Mar 26, 2023 at 15:01

2 Answers 2

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The general guidance is to use gender-neutral terms in the workplace. This avoids discriminating against non-binary people, and means you don't have to ascertain everybody's gender beforehand. Suggested gender-neutral terms are "folks" or "people".

The British armed forces, specifically the Joint Equality Diversity and Inclusion unit at the Defence Academy in Shrivenham, Oxfordshire, recommend "people, folks, friends or you all", rather than "chaps" or "guys". (Source: Can a woman be a chap?, Patricia T. O’Conner and Stewart Kellerman, Grammarphobia, 15 May 2019)

Increasingly there is criticism of using potentially gendered terms such as "guys"; you can argue if they are gendered, but there is still the risk of excluding women or upsetting people. There is some support for "people" instead of "guys" (Why this woman says people should never use 'guys' to address men and women, The Independent, 1 Aug 2018). An article in The Guardian in 2016 (You don't like being called 'guys'? Come on, people!, Gary Nunn, 10 Jun 2016) rejected "people" as having less of a sense of friendly, cool collegial solidarity, but (after noting that some women are OK with "guys") suggested "folks".

This would also apply in other formal settings, such as educational institutions. If it's more casual, then you can do what you like as long as nobody objects: ladies, girls, chapesses, blokettes, ladettes.

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Seriously, call them Boys.

Or better yet, call them fella or fellas, which sounds feminine to me. There are some definitions of fellas in urban dictionary such as:

Fellas; your friends or people that you like. People you are often with and treat as close people to you.

The boys; the guys; my manly friends.

Fella: Any male.

Fella's = A group of males.

https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=fellas

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